Kate Parker was a happily married mum of two with everything to live for when disaster struck her young family in September 2005. Husband Andy was on his way home from work when he was involved in an accident that claimed his life, and Kate became a widow at the tender age of 31 years.
In the weeks, months and years that followed, Kate coped with her agonising grief by devoting all her energy into caring for her young sons and building a career for herself. By her own admission she became emotionally brittle, steely and tough.
Though Kate maintained a belief in God, she was indifferent to Him. She didn’t want to speak to Him and certainly wasn’t ready to listen to anything He might have to say to her. She felt she was managing on her own, despite experiencing feelings of loneliness, isolation and abandonment.
November 2013 proved otherwise. Following a particularly stressful time at work and a family bereavement, she crumbled. Diagnosed with severe depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder she spent several months off work. One night, full of despair, she finally acknowledged her need for help. “God, I cannot do this without You. Please help me,” she pleaded. “I am putting myself into Your hands for You to do what You will.”
From that moment on, Kate felt a physical weight lift from her shoulders. Eventually she returned to work and with support from family and friends started on the slow road to recovery.
Just before Christmas last year, Kate felt a compulsion to contact an acquaintance she barely knew. Acting upon these promptings, she got in touch and subsequently received an invitation to attend a performance of “The Christmas Truce” at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Gaerwen. It was a night that was to change the rest of her life.
Kate was touched by the presentation, and after meeting the missionaries agreed to be taught the discussions. Reluctant at first to acknowledge that there was anything missing from her life, Kate eventually picked up the Book of Mormon and decided to put Moroni’s promise to the test.
“After much prayer,” Kate recalls, “I found out for myself that the Book of Mormon and the Gospel are true. I knew that this is what God had planned for us.”
Kate and her two boys were baptised in February this year and membership in the Church has already made them a happier family. “For the first time in many years we are at peace, we are comforted and we are starting to heal.” Kate explains. “My family, friends and work colleagues can hardly believe what a positive influence the church has had on us all.”
In March, Kate and her sons visited the temple for the first time, when eldest son was baptised and confirmed on behalf of his dad. This was an incredibly special and precious moment for their family, and Kate is convinced that the ordinances were accepted by her husband.
One of Kate’s favourite scriptures is found in D&C 58:4: “For after much tribulation come the blessings...” This, she feels, is what has happened to her family. Finding the Gospel has helped her discover that there is a way through any trial if she is willing to read the scriptures, pray, lean on friends and above all trust in the Lord.